Monday, 18 January 2016

Keema / Qeema, Sabut Malka Masoor, Methi Biryani / Chicken Mince, Whole Red Lentils, Green Fenugreek Biryani ~ My Ode To The Ingenious Chef Sara Riaz


The Biryani love affair is growing stronger and stronger with each passing day in my family. Whether it's that special meal in the weekend, or that one symbolic dish to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or the star dish at any family get together or house parties and even for potlucks, the one dish that is chosen with total majority is Biryani. My eternal gratitude to the queen who first had Biryani cooked for her famished soldiers when she visited their barracks. This one pot dish which houses the flavour of each of the ingredient you would have used, with full vigor to reveal to you a decadent gush of aroma, the moment you remove the lid and allow the fragrant smoke to take over your senses and of those with you at the dinning table.

I have come across people, who have not cooked Biryani, tell me this must be the simplest dish to make. Put everything in one pot and voila your Biryani is ready. In fact I remember in a conversation with my dear friend Dhanwanti, she mentioned that every Friday, as a newly wed her husband would tell her, that he knew how hard she worked the whole week through and therefore for lunch she could make only one hassle free dish which was Biryani. Well, I would not say it's a difficult dish to make , but the preparation leading to that final pot is a little meticulous and cannot be done in a hurry. If I may put it like this, Biryani is an easy dish to make but the layers of spices, aromatics, vegetables, meats that are paired along with a very aromatic rice takes time to assemble. 

Never get nervous of the long list of ingredients that come with most Biryani recipes. All the ingredients are easily available and some of them in your kitchen racks itself. This dish is a play with spices, a balance brought about between the many ingredients that go into that large pot. It's also about cooking the rice to perfection and the meat to tender and luscious. You have to bring out a pot full of flavours, a true amalgamation of the distinct ingredients used, yet each one has to stand its ground. By saying this I mean, you cannot overcook the rice and allow it to break and mash in the pot. Also the meat or veggies should be well cooked yet they should not have disintegrated in the pot, but have to retain their individual shape. However, don't ever get intimated about cooking this Regal dish. The secret to a perfect Biryani are two things, your love for the dish and a little practice. Then you are ready to go every time with a dish which is not only fulfilling to cook but the experience of seeing that immense satisfaction on your diners face is truly overwhelming. If you are a food lover than this dish has to be an integral part of your food menu without any doubt.

                                                                                                                                                                   
The Biryani dish that I bring to you today has a unique combination of ingredients and is supremely delicious. Keema / Qeema Malka Masoor Methi Biryani. This recipe is from one of my favourite Chef from Pakistan, Sara Riaz. Chef Sara Riaz was a Food Television staple and much loved, respected and a prominent member of Pakistan's Culinary fraternity. Her dishes were very novel and her simple, easy to follow instructions made her delectable dishes a favourite with many not only in her country but worldwide. I had the opportunity of meeting her a few years before she passed away. It was a brief Airport rendezvous, but I still remember how easily we got into a conversation and how charming she was. I think people like her have, in a large way, been responsible for shaping my own humble little culinary journey and strengthening my love for all things food. I so regret that the camera shy me, did not click a picture with her. Her passing away has definitely left a huge void in the heart of her fans like me. This post is my ode to her and to her superlative dishes which shall continue to live on forever in the kitchens of all her fans in Pakistan and globally.

CHEF SARA RIAZ  
PICTURE SOURCE 

I fell in love with this dish the very first time I had laid my eyes on it. Fresh Fenugreek leaves are used in this dish and so is whole red lentils. These two ingredients I thought lent it's uniqueness and a whole lot of goodness in terms of nutrition to this dish. Fresh fenugreek /methi leaves are known to be a rich source of steroidal saponins that prevent the absorption of cholesterol and triglycerides, thereby aids in lowering bad cholesterol and maintains your heart health. Also fenugreek helps control blood sugar levels. It contains galactomannan, a natural soluble fiber which slows down the rate of sugar absorption in Blood. Fenugreek also contains amino acids known to induce the production of Insulin. ( Information Source ). Red Lentils are rich in fiber, folic acid and potassium. The American Heart Association, states that increased fiber intake can reduce LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels.(Information Source ).

Chicken or Mutton or Lamb mince can be used in this Biryani. For Vegan options skip the clarified butter and replace it with oil. The meat can be replaced by minced soya chunks and yogurt with lemon juice after the soya mince has cooked completely and you are ready to remove it off the flame. Also soak the saffron in warm coconut milk or warm water for vegan option. This is a gluten free dish and vegetarians can enjoy this dish by replacing the meat with soya, tofu or cottage cheese mince. Another wonderful feature of this biryani is that it uses the basic spices like turmeric, coriander, cumin, red chilli and garam masala powder and no other powdered spices, keeping the spice index low and allowing the meat to cook with all the other ingredients and reatain their own flavours in the process. This dish is a brilliant way to make your little ones eat fenugreek leaves and whole red lentils. The final dish I can vouch for it is one wholesome, delightful flavour packed and hearty dish. It can be had on its own or paired with a mixed veggie Raita. The dish is from the huge repertoire of fabulous dishes from Chef Sara Riaz and you can see this video and learn to cook this dish directly from her.


KEEMA / QEEMA, SABUT MALKA MASOOR, METHI BIRYANI / CHICKEN MINCE, WHOLE RED LENTILS, GREEN FENUGREEK BIRYANI RECIPE ~

SERVES : 4
CUISINE : PAKISTANI 
TYPE : MAIN COURSE / RICE DISH
TIME : 30 MINUTES PREPARATION + 60 MINUTES COOKING + OVERNIGHT SOAKING OF THE WHOLE RED LENTILS 

INGREDIENTS :

FOR THE WHOLE RED LENTILS :

1) 1/2 Cup ( 100 Gms approx.) Whole Red Lentils / Sabut Masoor Dal
2) 1 Tsp Salt 

FOR THE RICE :

1) 1 1/2 Cup (1 Cup = 250 Gms Approx.) Long Grain Basmati Rice

2) 2 Brown Cardamoms / Badi Elaichi

3) 1 Tsp Black Cumin Seeds / Shahi Jeera ( Use normal cumin seeds alternately )

4) 1 inch Cinnamon Stick / Dalchini

5) 10 ~ 15 Pepper Corns / Sabut Kali Mirch

6) 10 ~ 12 Kabab Chini (optional )

7) 2 Bay Leaves / Tej Patta

8) 4 ~ 5 Cloves / Laung

9) 4 Green Cardamom / Choti Elaichi

10) 1 Tbsp Clarified Butter / Ghee ( Use oil for Vegan option )

FOR THE KEEMA, METHI CURRY / MINCE CHICKEN, GREEN FENUGREEK CURRY:

1) 350 Gms Chicken Mince / Keema /Qeema

2) 2 Cups ( 120 Gms approximately ) Tightly Packed Fenugreek Leaves / Methi Saag

3) 4 Large Onions thinly sliced

4) 1/2 Tbsp Ginger Paste

6) 1 Tbsp Garlic Paste

7) 1 Tsp Cumin Powder

8) 2 Tsp Coriander Powder

9) 1/2 Tsp Turmeric Powder

10) 1 Tsp Red Chilli Powder

11) 2 Medium sized Tomatoes thinly sliced into roundels

12 ) 2 large Potatoes cubed into big pieces

13) 1/2 Cup (125 Gms approx ) Yogurt /Dahi / Curd

14) 1 1/2 Tbsp Garam Masala Powder

15) 4 Tbsp Oil ( Reduce if desired )

16) Salt to taste

FOR THE LAYERING AND ASSEMBLING OF THE BIRYANI :

1)  4 Tbsp Golden Fried Onions

2) 4 ~ 6 Green chillies slit ( increase or decrease as per taste )

3) 2 Tbsp Chopped Mint Leaves

4) 2 Tbsp Chopped Coriander leaves

5) 1/2 Cup Milk

6) 1 Tsp Saffron ( You can reduce the quantity or use yellow colour if you want to reduce cost )

7) 1 Tsp Kewra Water / Screw Pine Water ( Use Rose Water Alternately )

8) 1 or 2 Drops of Meetha Attar ( optional ) 

PICTORIAL STEP BY STEP PROCEDURE :

1) Soak the whole red lentils overnight covered with water. In the morning drain the water and wash the lentils thoroughly. Pressure cook for one whistle covered with water after adding 1 Tsp salt. Alternately cook red lentils in a deep bottom pan covered with water and after adding 1 Tsp salt till fully cooked but not smashed that is the lentils should retain their shape. 

Once cooked drain the water from the lentils to stop them from continuing to cook.
TIP : I prefer pressure cooker to cook my lentils as it cooks within no time. Do not throw the water from the cooked lentils away as you can use it later to cook the chicken mince. Do not leave the lentils in the hot water after they have cooked completely as they will lose their shape and get overcooked.



Also you can soak the lentils for an hour instead of soaking overnight but cooking time will be slightly more.


2) Wash the Rice thoroughly in a colander under running water. Drain the water completely.
TIP: Cook the rice immediately after washing and draining out the water. Leaving the rice either in water or even for long uncooked after draining the water will result in the rice breaking into small pieces while cooking.

In a deep bottom pan or wok take clarified butter and add all the whole spices under the sub heading FOR THE RICE in INGREDIENTS. Fry the whole spices in the clarified butter till they release their aroma.


3) Add the washed rice to the fragrant whole spices. Mix well and saute the rice till the rice no longer sticks to your spatula or the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat.

In another deep bottom pan boil water to almost full of the amount of water the pan can hold. When the water starts boiling, add the rice and let it cook till 80% done. Alternately cook the rice as per your choice or as per the instructions on the rice packet.
TIP :Cooking the Rice properly is very important in any Biryani Dish. Read the Intructions carefully on your Rice Packet and then cook the rice in. Use Long Grain Basmati Rice For best Results.



4) Once you have checked the rice and know its cooked 80% you can remove the pan from the heat and drain out all the water. 

Spread out the rice on plates so that they do not stick to each other and cool down quickly too. By doing this you get the rice to cook as desired. So that when we put everything on Dum (to cook in its own steam ) in a single pot, the rice will not break and get smashed.
TIP : If you do not like whole spices invading your mouth while eating the Biryani, then you can remove the larger whole spices after the rice has cooked and cooled. But a better way is to put all the whole spices in a muslin cloth, tie it up like a bag and submerge this bag directly into the water you will cook the rice. This way the rice will absorb all the aroma and you can easily remove the bag once the rice is cooked.

But as I like the spices to bloom and become more aromatic, so I fry them in the clarified butter first. The choice is however totally yours which way you would like to go.


5) Chop the onions into thin slices. In a pan/wok take 4 Tbsp oil and fry the onions till golden brown.

Once the onion are fried to golden brown, remove from the flame and take out 4 tbsp approximately fried onions and keep it on a plate to be used for garnishing later on.


6) Get all your garnishing ready. Chop fresh coriander, mint and green chillies and along with the golden brown onion slices keep all aside on a plate ready to use.

Take 1/2 a cup of milk in a cup or bowl and warm it just a little bit. Soak the saffron strings in this milk till you are ready to use it at the end.


7) Now place the pan with the golden brown onions back on the flame and add ginger garlic paste. Saute till they become fragrant.

Next add turmeric and season with salt.

Add the cubed potatoes, stir for a few minutes and then lower the flame and cook the potatoes covered along with the other ingredients for 10 minutes.

Next add the sliced tomato roundels, cumin, coriander and red chilli powder. Mix everything in the pan nicely and again cook covered on low heat till the tomato softens completely.


8) While chopping the fresh fenugreek leaves, leave a small portion of the stem intact with the leaves. This gives more volume to the fenugreek leaves as they wilt while cooking.

Now add the fenugreek leaves to the pan and cook covered on low flame till the leaves wilt and soften , which should not take more than 5 minutes.



9) Next add the Chicken mince. Mix well and saute the chicken mince along with the other ingredients on high flame till the chicken mince changes colour.
TIP : Hand pounded meat mince give out the maximum taste. So if possible use hand pounded minced meat.

In a bowl whisk together yogurt and garam masala powder. Pour this mixture into the pan and give everything a nice big stir. At this point you can add the water that you have saved earlier from the cooked whole red lentils, if you wish.

Cook covered for 15 minutes till the chicken Keema is completely cooked. Check for seasoning and add salt if required. Our Keema Curry is ready and so is everything else. It's time to assemble the layers and put our Biryani on Dum , so that it cooks in its own steam retaining every little flavour and aroma.



10) To assemble the layers you need to take a large pan. Smear the bottom of the pan with a little clarified butter or oil. This prevents the bottom layer from burning. 

Spread half of the 80% cooked rice evenly in the pan as the first layer. This is followed by the Chicken Aloo Methi Curry Layer. Spread evenly to cover the rice. Next spread evenly the cooked Sabut malka masoor or whole red lentils. 



11) Top up the red lentil layer with mint leaves and slit green chillies. Do not leave any empty space. Cover the layer completely.

Now add the remaining rice as the last layer and garnish it with the golden brown onions and chopped fresh coriander leaves. This done, sprinkle on every bit of the rice, the saffron soaked milk along with the saffron strands.



12) Finally sprinkle kewra water follwed by a drop or two of the Meetha Attar. This done, seal your pan, pot etc. very tightly and put it on a low flame to cook on dum for at least 15 minutes.
TIP : You may sprinkle a few teaspoons of clarified butter on top before closing the lid and putting the Biryani to cook 

Do not open the lid of your pan until you are ready to serve.
TIP : Place a flat iron griddle / tawa on the bottom of the pan and fill in some water in it so that while the Biryani is cooking on Dum the heat is distributed evenly and the lower layer doesn't burn.

Serve this delectable Biryani with a mixed vegetable Raita. You can mix yogurt with cucumber, onion, tomatoes, green chillies, salt and mix everything nicely. Add a little water to the Raita if you do not like it too thick.



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KEEMA / QEEMA, SABUT MALKA MASOOR, METHI BIRYANI / CHICKEN MINCE, WHOLE RED LENTILS, GREEN FENUGREEK BIRYANI RECIPE ~


SERVES : 4
CUISINE : PAKISTANI 
TYPE : MAIN COURSE / RICE DISH
TIME : 30 MINUTES PREPARATION + 60 MINUTES COOKING + OVERNIGHT SOAKING OF THE WHOLE RED LENTILS 

INGREDIENTS :

FOR THE WHOLE RED LENTILS :

1) 1/2 Cup ( 100 Gms approx.) Whole Red Lentils / Sabut Masoor Dal
2) 1 Tsp Salt 

FOR THE RICE :

1) 1 1/2 Cup (1 Cup = 250 Gms Approx.) Long Grain Basmati Rice

2) 2 Brown Cardamoms / Badi Elaichi

3) 1 Tsp Black Cumin Seeds / Shahi Jeera ( Use normal cumin seeds alternately )

4) 1 inch Cinnamon Stick / Dalchini

5) 10 ~ 15 Pepper Corns / Sabut Kali Mirch

6) 10 ~ 12 Kabab Chini (optional )

7) 2 Bay Leaves / Tej Patta

8) 4 ~ 5 Cloves / Laung

9) 4 Green Cardamom / Choti Elaichi

10) 1 Tbsp Clarified Butter / Ghee ( Use oil for Vegan option )

FOR THE KEEMA, METHI CURRY / MINCE CHICKEN, GREEN FENUGREEK CURRY:

1) 350 Gms Chicken Mince / Keema /Qeema

2) 2 Cups ( 120 Gms approximately ) Tightly Packed Fenugreek Leaves / Methi Saag

3) 4 Large Onions thinly sliced

4) 1/2 Tbsp Ginger Paste

6) 1 Tbsp Garlic Paste

7) 1 Tsp Cumin Powder

8) 2 Tsp Coriander Powder

9) 1/2 Tsp Turmeric Powder

10) 1 Tsp Red Chilli Powder

11) 2 Medium sized Tomatoes thinly sliced into roundels

12 ) 2 large Potatoes cubed into big pieces

13) 1/2 Cup (125 Gms approx ) Yogurt /Dahi / Curd

14) 1 1/2 Tbsp Garam Masala Powder

15) 4 Tbsp Oil ( Reduce if desired )

16) Salt to taste

FOR THE LAYERING AND ASSEMBLING OF THE BIRYANI :

1)  4 Tbsp Golden Fried Onions

2) 4 ~ 6 Green chillies slit ( increase or decrease as per taste )

3) 2 Tbsp Chopped Mint Leaves

4) 2 Tbsp Chopped Coriander leaves

5) 1/2 Cup Milk

6) 1 Tsp Saffron ( You can reduce the quantity or use yellow colour if you want to reduce cost )

7) 1 Tsp Kewra Water / Screw Pine Water ( Use Rose Water Alternately )

8) 1 or 2 Drops of Meetha Attar ( optional ) 

PICTORIAL STEP BY STEP PROCEDURE :

1) Soak the whole red lentils overnight covered with water. In the morning drain the water and wash the lentils thoroughly. Pressure cook for one whistle covered with water after adding 1 Tsp salt. Alternately cook red lentils in a deep bottom pan covered with water and after adding 1 Tsp salt till fully cooked but not smashed that is the lentils should retain their shape. 

Once cooked drain the water from the lentils to stop them from continuing to cook.
TIP : I prefer pressure cooker to cook my lentils as it cooks within no time. Do not throw the water from the cooked lentils away as you can use it later to cook the chicken mince. Do not leave the lentils in the hot water after they have cooked completely as they will lose their shape and get overcooked.

Also you can soak the lentils for an hour instead of soaking overnight but cooking time will be slightly more.

2) Wash the Rice thoroughly in a colander under running water. Drain the water completely.
TIP: Cook the rice immediately after washing and draining out the water. Leaving the rice either in water or even for long uncooked after draining the water will result in the rice breaking into small pieces while cooking.

In a deep bottom pan or wok take clarified butter and add all the whole spices under the sub heading FOR THE RICE in INGREDIENTS. Fry the whole spices in the clarified butter till they release their aroma.

3) Add the washed rice to the fragrant whole spices. Mix well and saute the rice till the rice no longer sticks to your spatula or the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat.

In another deep bottom pan boil water to almost full of the amount of water the pan can hold. When the water starts boiling, add the rice and let it cook till 80% done. Alternately cook the rice as per your choice or as per the instructions on the rice packet.
TIP :Cooking the Rice properly is very important in any Biryani Dish. Read the Intructions carefully on your Rice Packet and then cook the rice. Use Long Grain Basmati Rice For best Results.

4) Once you have checked the rice and know its cooked 80% you can remove the pan from the heat and drain out all the water.

Spread out the rice on plates so that they do not stick to each other and cool down quickly too. By doing this you get the rice to cook as desired. So that when we put everything on Dum (to cook in its own steam ) in a single pot, the rice will not break and get smashed.
TIP : If you do not like whole spices invading your mouth while eating the Biryani, then you can remove the larger whole spices after the rice has cooked and cooled. But a better way is to put all the whole spices in a muslin cloth, tie it up like a bag and submerge this bag directly into the water you will cook the rice in. This way the rice will absorb all the aroma and you can easily remove the bag once the rice is cooked.

But as I like the spices to bloom and become more aromatic, so I fry them in the clarified butter first. The choice is however totally yours which way you would like to go.


5) Chop the onions into thin slices. In a pan/wok take 4 Tbsp oil and fry the onions till golden brown.

Once the onion are fried to golden brown, remove from the flame and take out 4 tbsp approximately fried onions and keep it on a plate to be used for garnishing later on.

6) Get all your garnishing ready. Chop fresh coriander, mint and green chillies and along with the golden brown onion slices keep all aside on a plate ready to use.

Take 1/2 a cup of milk in a cup or bowl and warm it just a little bit. Soak the saffron strings in this milk till you are ready to use it at the end.

7) Now place the pan with the golden brown onions back on the flame and add ginger garlic paste. Saute till they become fragrant.

Next add turmeric and season with salt. 

Add the cubed potatoes, stir for a few minutes and then lower the flame and cook the potatoes covered along with the other ingredients for 10 minutes. 

Next add the sliced tomato roundels, cumin, coriander and red chilli powder. Mix everything in the pan nicely and again cook covered on low heat till the tomato softens completely.

8) While chopping the fresh fenugreek leaves, leave a small portion of the stem intact with the leaves. This gives more volume to the fenugreek leaves as they wilt while cooking.

Now add the fenugreek leaves to the pan and cook covered on low flame till the leaves wilt and soften , which should not take more than 5 minutes.

9) Next add the Chicken mince. Mix well and saute the chicken mince along with the other ingredients on high flame till the chicken mince changes colour.
TIP : Hand pounded meat mince give out the maximum taste. So if possible use hand pounded minced meat.

In a bowl whisk together yogurt and garam masala powder. Pour this mixture into the pan and give everything a nice big stir. At this point you can add the water that you have saved earlier from the cooked whole red lentils, if you wish.

Cook covered for 15 minutes till the chicken Keema is completely cooked. Check for seasoning and add salt if required. Our Keema Curry is ready and so is everything else. It's time to assemble the layers and put our Biryani on Dum , so that it cooks in its own steam retaining every little flavour and aroma.

10) To assemble the layers you need to take a large pan. Smear the bottom of the pan with a little clarified butter or oil. This prevents the bottom layer from burning. 

Spread half of the 80% cooked rice evenly in the pan as the first layer. This is followed by the Chicken Aloo Methi Curry Layer. Spread evenly to cover the rice. Next spread evenly the cooked Sabut malka masoor or whole red lentils. 

11) Top up the red lentil layer with mint leaves and slit green chillies. Do not leave any empty space. Cover the layer completely.

Now add the remaining rice as the last layer and garnish it with the golden brown onions and chopped fresh coriander leaves. This done, sprinkle on every bit of the rice, the saffron soaked milk along with the saffron strands.

12) 12) Finally sprinkle kewra water follwed by a drop or two of the Meetha Attar. This done, seal your pan, pot etc. very tightly and put it on a low flame to cook on dum for at least 15 minutes.
TIP : You may sprinkle a few teaspoons of clarified butter on top before closing the lid and putting the Biryani to cook 

Do not open the lid of your pan until you are ready to serve.
TIP : Place a flat iron griddle / tawa on the bottom of the pan and fill in some water in it so that while the Biryani is cooking on Dum the heat is distributed evenly and the lower layer doesn't burn.

Serve this delectable Biryani with a mixed vegetable Raita. You can mix yogurt with cucumber, onion, tomatoes, green chillies, salt and mix everything nicely. Add a little water to the Raita if you do not like it too thick.

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Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 423 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories
382
Calories from Fat
163
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
18.2g
28%
Saturated Fat
4.4g
22%
Trans Fat
0.0g
Cholesterol
12mg
4%
Sodium
100mg
4%
Potassium
1123mg
32%
Total Carbohydrates
48.9g
16%
Dietary Fiber
8.2g
33%
Sugars
12.1g
Protein
8.1g
Vitamin A 6%Vitamin C 81%
Calcium 17%Iron 15%
Nutrition Grade A-
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Nutritional Analysis

Good points

























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